Description

    William E. Channing: A Letter on the Annexation of Texas to the United States. London: John Green, 121, Newgate Street. 1837. 8vo. 48 pp. Paper wrappers; disbound. Moderate to heavy age toning. Chip at upper right corner of title page. Very good condition.

    William Ellery Channing, grandson of Declaration Signer William Ellery, was one of the leading figures of the early American Unitarian movement and an ardent abolitionist. Speaking strongly against the annexation of Texas, Channing addresses his letter "To the Honorable Henry Clay," to share his "Thoughts on the evils of a spirit of conquest, and on slavery." Channing argues that the Texas revolution was not justified by grievances against Mexico and that its real causes were land speculation and pro-slavery expansionism. Channing goes on to state that annexation would be disastrous for the Union and would exert a negative influence on the moral sentiments and principles of the nation, by encouraging rampant speculation, by bringing into the confederacy a community whose history and circumstances were adverse to moral order and lawful restraint, by violating national faith, and by proposing immoral and inhuman ends through slavery. Justin H. Smith, in his The Annexation of Texas (New York, 1919), devotes five pages to an analysis of Channing's Letter, saying "it exerted a wonderful influence in the United States, Europe and Mexico and still echoes in current books and in public sentiment." However, Smith claims that Channing was incorrect in believing that the fundamental reasons for the Texas revolution were land speculation and a desire to prevent the abolition of slavery.


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